Faculty of

About the Faculty of Sociology

Bielefeld can be designated the capital city of German-language sociology. The Faculty of Sociology at Bielefeld University is the only independent faculty of sociology in the Federal Republic of Germany, and the largest institution of its kind in the German-speaking area. The founding of the university in 1969 created a site of strong socio-political interest. For this reason a conscious emphasis was placed on the social sciences, above all on sociology and history.

Sociology is a wonderfully versatile, curious, irreverent science which can occupy itself with countless subject areas of substance because it ultimately studies the whole of society. How wealth and poverty are distributed across the globe, and why the gulf between rich and poor is continuously growing; how we live in love relationships and how (and why) we end them; how organizations like companies, administrations, schools, and associations work, and in what way they change (or are changed); how the mass media work and with what "lens" they present the events of the world - all of this and much more are questions that sociology poses and attempts to answer. Sociology develops surprising insights and often comes to realizations that contradict the views pervasive in everyday life, or advocated by other "players".

Sociologists, social and political scientists can work in many practical fields where their special knowledge is in demand (organizational consulting, personnel management, market research, for instance), and also in many general positions (such as for foundations, parties, administration, human resources development, publishers, broadcasting) that require the capacity for precise analysis, the ability to judge, and interaction with academic texts. If you are planning or considering working as a school teacher, a bachelor´s degree in social sciences will open the door to this career choice as well.

Foto: Teutopress

Niklas Luhmann, one of the best known and most influential sociological theoreticians of the present, lived and taught here, and the system theory he developed is still strongly represented in Bielefeld.

In addition to sociology, the disciplines of social anthropology, political science and the social sciences and its didactics are also firmly anchored in the faculty. It is this very internal structure that makes the faculty so interdisciplinary. This interdisciplinarity is accompanied by collaboration with a plethora of disciplines and institutions on the level of research. These include in particular educational science (as at the IKG and IZG), history (BGHS, IW, IZG), psychology (IKG), law (IKG, IW, IZG) and economics (Centre of Statistics). Twenty externally funded projects are currently in progress at the faculty. German and international guest scholars are regularly resident at the faculty and offer opportunities to become acquainted with new perspectives and views.

The facultyis sub-divided into eleven research and teaching units, to which the majority of the total 31 professorships (including junior professors and associate professors) are assigned. In teaching, the faculty is nationally and internationally in demand as a teaching institution for the BA and MA courses of study and for structured doctoral training. At present 3,000 students are enrolled in eleven courses of study: four bachelor degree courses (BA in Sociology, BA in Social Sciences, BA in Political Science and BA in Science Instruction) and four master´s degrees (MA in Sociology, MA in Political Communication, MEdu in Social Sciences and MA in Science Instruction). The faculty also plays a leading role in three additional interdisciplinary master´s courses (MA in Gender Studies, MA in Interdisciplinary Media Sciences and M.Sc. in Statistical Sciences).

At the intersection between research and teaching, the faculty has long been committed to well-organized doctoral training. In collaboration with the Faculty of History, these activities are institutionalized in the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS), in which over 200 doctoral students absolve structured doctoral training. Since 2007 the BGHS has received funding as part of the German Universities Excellence Initiative. The new graduate programme "World Politics: The Emergence of Political Arenas and Observation Modi in Global Society" will begin in October.

The Faculty of Sociology also publishes the "Zeitschrift für Soziologie".